The sun was high and warm in the blue sky as the air was chilled by the rain of the night before, the river running fast and furious with run-off. Kind words were spoken, speeches made, draped sculptures unveiled. Children gathered round for many smiles and pictures taken; laughs, hand shakes of secret clubs and finally hugs to say good-bye. But this is not the end. The patina of time will skin the four figures, their footings will cure and forms will be removed. New grass will be sewn, trees and shrubs planted, benches placed. And still the end will not be found. Visitors will come and walk among the sculptures, as they become familiar images and friendly forms for those who pass them every day, see them out their windows. The sculptures will become rooted, ingrained; local residences like the tolling of the church bells. Maybe then will the end be near as history oxidizes memory as it rusts away.
Good-byes were tearful and those tears came early. Students who came for the unveiling shed them before it was over. I choked down the lump in my throat as I fumbled through my speech. That same lump welled again as I ate my last cheese pie in the kitchen I now can call home. Hugs were the gift of the day and many were exchanged. But there were many other very special gifts that passed hands before it was time to go. New friends and family were made and are now kept close through bonds that cannot be spoken. There was not a dry eye in the house as we left through the front gate one last time with a bag of food full of love to swell the heart and fatten the belly. But under those tears were smiles and bright rosy cheeks and I had an extra little upturned curl at the end of my lips with one last parting image of that little cock sent flying by my boot as he went for one last shot at the title.